Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Cultural Analysis At The School Gate

First of all I would like to start with an apology for not having written an awful this month but it has all been quite mundane really. Shouldn’t really say that should I? Well in fact I was kidnapped by aliens who wanted to test my brain for signs of logical thought processes but they didn’t find any so brought me back to my humble abode. I will allow you beloved reader to work out which of those is correct.
When I was standing at the school gate today a sudden flash of inspiration hit me. Not literally that would hurt, but in the metaphorical sense it was excellent. It made up for the fact that I had gone to wait for J even though her mother had decided I am now working on Thursday instead.
I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about the French as a population recently and most of these thoughts have been linked to how weird I think they are. This firstly came to the forefront of my mind when Pip said how bizarre it was that all of the public transport was free for the weekend that she came to stay with me. If this happened in the UK it probably wouldn’t have lasted the 4 days that it did here. This view was also echoed by the crowds of passengers at Charles De Gaulle Terminal 2 who asked me for my knowledge as a local as to why they didn’t have to pay the usual 10€ it takes to get back into town from the airport. I must admit I felt quite powerful with all the local knowledge I had at this point, a definite move towards being more native but I think I showed too much enthusiasm to be truly Parisian. As it goes the public transport was shut so that people were encouraged to us it to reduce our pollution levels, which I have now started using as an excuse for everything from essays not being started to being late for uni…..  
The second weird element of French culture I would like to bring to your attention is the fact that this morning  got at least 7 dirty looks for wearing light coloured jeans in drizzle that I could see and many more that I could feel looking at me. Even the homeless man I walk past every day on my way into university didn’t shout what I assume to be “Bonjour” but I am never quite sure. But thinking about it maybe they didn’t approve of my leopard print umbrella. As a typical Brit, I obviously think that as soon as there is some sun it is acceptable to wear a colour other than black. Obviously the Parisians think differently.
As all of these thoughts were going through my head I realised that I should probably pay attention to see whether J had come out of the door yet. She hadn’t. So I continued to think and this led me to ponder about French mums. In my mind’s eye I always see them as being effortlessly chic and unbelievably well turned out. But in reality some of them look far from the stereotype which is no bad thing. It makes me feel a lot more relaxed with what I wear despite the weird looks I get sometimes. But I don’t feel as conscious about it as when I first moved here. At least they don’t look at me like I’m a tourist anymore. That is a look of true contempt.
So all in all despite France being a truly weird country and more eccentric than they lead us to believe, it is a true delight to live here. Even though some guy in a bar’s idea of chatting me up is to make me name as many French cheeses as I can it does cheer you up when missing home etc.

Hopefully I will be having more exciting adventures soon after exams and Easter. There should be lots of hijinks that will be got up to in the not so distant future and therefore more things to write about on here because as I always say, “if it feels bad now it will be a good anecdote in the future”.  

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Paris in the Springtime

So just to get a few excuses in first before I start to say why I haven’t written anything that recently on here (and it isn’t because I have been doing anything interesting I have honest keep reading and you’ll find out!). Well I have had many a visitor these past few weeks! Who knew I was so popular?! Certainly not me that’s for sure.
Firstly I spent a lovely weekend with my cousin and her friends while they did the half-marathon and I watched with my aunt and uncle. It is always so good to see other people getting so much enjoyment out of exercise which I can’t say I always share. It was lovely going down to Chateau de Vincennes where the start and finish points were, never a bad thing to discover a different corner of the city especially when it’s one as beautiful as the end of Line 1!
Last week it started to get unbelievably sunny much to my delight as the arrival of my second guest was imminent. With a cheeky trip to the favourite Cristals under our belts we headed to the market to buy an array of produce for a picnic in Jardin du Luxembourg. So blanket in bag and cans of Orangina in hand we set off for the kind of lunch I’d imagined I would be having all the time when I first contemplated living here. It certainly felt like I was going More Native Than The Natives – I mean can you get more French than a baguette, goat’s cheese, olives, petit fours and Orangina? All of the Parisians were just eating MacDonalds, the heathens.

After we strolled along the Seine, had a photo outside Notre Dame and sat on Ile-de-la-Cite watching the world go by in the sunshine. And now I’m nearly at the end of onslaught of visitors with only Pip left to come. But with all this sunny weather I just know nothing can go wrong and who knows I may even have a slight tan by the time I come back for Easter!